MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Mark DeMontis was a teenager when his dreams of playing professional hockey were dashed by a rare condition that left him legally blind. Now, at 25, he is the CEO of Courage Canada, which provides opportunities for blind and visually impaired children to get on the ice and play hockey.

DeMontis will work with West Virginia children participating in the West Virginia University Eye Institute’s Children’s Vision Rehabilitation Program (CVRP) Summer Institute through June 19.

Friday, DeMontis will join the campers on the ice of the IceoPlex at Southpointe in Canonsburg, Pa. at 2 p.m. The hockey sessions are sponsored by the CVRP, and the Pittsburgh Penguins will provide gift bags for each child.

On Monday (June 18), he will speak to campers at the Bridgeport United Methodist Church on Worthington Drive. After his visit, DeMontis will visit the Eye Institute at 2 p.m.

He will return to the IceoPlex on Tuesday (June 19) to spend the day with the campers.

In 2004, DeMontis signed a one-year AAA hockey contract with the hope of playing in the NCAA on an athletic scholarship after high school. Three months later, he was diagnosed with Leber’s Optic Neuropathy, a rare genetic condition.

At the age of 21, he founded Courage Canada and became the youngest CEO in Canada. Today, the organization has more than 200 visually impaired youth from across the nation participating in learn-to-skate and blind hockey programs.

For more information: Amy Johns, Director of Public Affairs, 304-293-7087
rd: 06-13-12